Friday, September 16, 2011

The video bane

You got your presentation two weeks ago, thought about it and synthesized a great simple message you want to share with your sabha. You listened to some katha and read some books and found some great prasangs you can tell as stories that provide concrete and credible evidence to highlight your simple message. You practiced saying these stories with feeling so it is engaging and emotional. Now it's the Friday before you have to present on Sunday you have everything you need from the Made to Stick model (SUCCES) except the dreaded U - nothing unexpected. If this Sunday you start kishori sabha by saying, "Today we will be talking about seva." or start bal 3 by saying, "The definition of punya is xxxx," then Houston we have a problem. Starting off without something unexpected will cause us to lose our audience, our sabha, before it even starts. They will start thinking about the Walkathon or what they are going to eat for dinner instead of seva and punya. So what do we do? We need an unexpected.

Unexpected Idea 
If you are in this boat, then all of us at Sabha.ology want to congratulate you and we would really want to sit in a sabha where a presenter went through all this. It is going to be great sabha. You just need the missing piece. The thing is the answer to what most people do now sometimes may not work. We found (in a very unscientific, but still pretty interesting survey of presenters) that most people in this situation will turn to the Internet to find a video. A video that is within maryada, but a video none the less. There is nothing wrong with this but a video (or sometimes erroneously called a bang presentation - a topic for another post) may not always be the answers.

If in every sabha everyone were to begin their presentation with a video, then after a few weeks this would not be very unexpected. Everyone knows that a video is coming.

Also it is idea that needs to be unexpected. Initially just the act of showing a video - since we usually do not show it - causes everyone to wake up and say, "Wow this is new." However after the novelty of the showing the video wears off, then we are just left with the idea that the is in the video. That idea has to stand on it's own legs to be unexpected.

Now, if you see a video with an unexpected idea that you can put to great use in a presentation, then by all means use that idea. However, how you present the idea (a video or drawing on an iPad or saying a story) really depends on your situation and can help make an idea even more unexpected. It is still the idea that is important. In fact you can find these unexpected ideas everywhere - books, talking to people, etc. Starting with a bang or starting with something unexpected involves starting with an idea that nobody is expecting. So with the Kishori./Kishore presentation on seva for this week, starting with a prasang of Bapa cleaning the bathroom after the Gurujayanti samaiyo would not be very unexpected. The MC has introduced that you are going to talk about seva (maybe seva and Shastriji Maharaj), so everyone is expecting something about seva, related to the Mandir. The key is to find an idea, any idea that will support you simple message regarding seva (iK) or punya (B3).

Lies my Teacher Told Me
Lies my teacher told me.jpgHow did Newton discover gravity? (Apple fell on his head, and he had an epiphany.)

What did Washington do after chopping down the cherry tree? (Told his parents he could not lie)

What are the primary colors? (Red, Yellow, Blue)

Each of the three questions above are things that people believe since most people say they were taught this either in school or by parents. It turns out that all three of these things are not true.

Newton was never hit by an apple, nor did a falling apple lead to him "discovering" gravity.

Washington never chopped down a cherry tree. After his death his biographer made up this story to exemplify his honesty.

And finally the subtractive primary colors are red, blue, and green (look at a video projector) and the additive primary colors are magenta, cyan, and yellow.

The idea: each of these things are something we believe without question, but upon further analysis we realize that we may not know this exactly.

Applied to Kishori/Kishore Shastriji Maharaj's Seva Presentation
The topic starts out by defining seva and looking at why we do seva and how to do it perfectly. In the same way that we think we knew the "facts" above about Newton, Washington, and colors, we may feel we know the facts about seva. Start with an unexpected. Ask these questions and have audience members stand up if they think it is false. Or make up multiple choice questions and have audience stand up for each answer. Drop the shoe by saying that each of those were false and that we believe we know certain things that maybe we do not. In the same way we believe that cleaning bathrooms is seva and anybody can do it. (or even add that as one of the questions) it turns out that this is not the case. Cleaning the bathrooms is only seva if we do it for the right reasons. Also not everyone gets the opportunity to clean the Mandir bathrooms - look at how many people drive by our Mandirs and never even go in. Now you are on your way. The sabha is awake and listening to your talk on seva.

Applied to Balika/Bal -3 Punya Presentation
Same idea and same process as above. This time add the question what is Karma? Now we can explain that sometimes we are confident we know some facts, but we can always add to our knowledge. In fact Newton  was never hit with an apple, Washington never chopped down a cherry tree,  magenta, cyan, and yellow are the primary colors, and there are really three types of Karma.

Or you can show a video

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